24 January 2013

Africa: South Africa's Backs Take the Strain Against Angola Cat CAN

Nelspruit — Five things we learned from day five at the Africa Cup of Nations.

If your forwards can't score get your backs to do their work. South Africa dominated Angola for the first 30 minutes but, despite all the possession, the attackers squandered several chances exhibiting a Fernando Torres-like incompetence in front of goal. Defender Siyabonga Sangweni displayed Robin van Persie like technique and poise for his left-footed volley past Angola keeper Lama.

If you're not happy with your team make the changes. South Africa boss Gordon Igesund was roundly condemned for his side's insipid opening match form at the National Stadium on Saturday night during the 0-0 draw with Cape Verde. One wag blogged that petty criminals should be shown a video of the game to horrify them back onto the straight and narrow. South Africa's first half performance against Angola in the second Group A game was, by comparison, electric. The Bafana Bafana positively motored to a 2-0 win.

Waiting is worth it. The fans at the Moses Mabhida stadium were jubilant after South Africa overcame Angola 2-0 to take a big step towards qualification for the last eight. It was South Africa's first win in the competition since they beat Benin in their first group stage match in 2004.

That standards of behaviour really have changed. Ethiopian fans have waited 31 years for their team to reach the Africa Cup of Nations. And then they act all mediaeval by hurling plastic bottles and vuvuzelas onto the field after goalkeeper Tasew Jemal was dismissed for his kung-fu assault on Zambia's Lungu Chisamba in their opening Group C match on 21 January. Jemal is still injured following the Toni Schumacher homage and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has hit the Ethiopian FA with a 7,500-euro fine.

That CAF's munificence - like its organisational incompetence, some might say - is boundless. Ethiopians only have to pay 3,750 euros now provided their fans don't come over all Neolithic if they get a monstering against Burkina Faso in their second Group C game.

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